ISSAM is a real outlier within the Cherifian kingdom, giving him broad appeal beyond the borders of his native country. Rapping in Darija, the Arabic language used in Morocco and more globally in North Africa, this self-taught artist juggles hip-hop, American trap, European electronic rhythms, Algerian rai and Moroccan chaabi. He is now signed to Universal Music France’s Island Def Jam label, a first for Arabic-speaking hip-hop. Oscillating between joyful melodies and melancholic, even deeply pessimistic, lyrics, the rapper invites dance, while maintaining the sobre view that “everything is dead,” as the title of “Koulchi Dead” indicates.
There is no End
With his posthumous album, the legendary Afrobeat drummer continues to influence, one year after his passing. The former Africa 70 drummer got his break alongside Fela Kuti: “Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat.” There Is No End now aims to respect one of the last wishes of the great musician, who died at the age of 79: to highlight the new generation of artists, especially in hip hop, such as Sampa The Great, Skepta, Marlowe, Nate Bone, Danny Brown, Jeremiah Jae, Lava La Rue and Zelooperz.
We Are an Island, but We’re Not Alone
Ian Brennan met Comorian, Soubi and Mmadi, the main musicians of this project following a six flight journey. He explains: “The few roads are lined with cars stripped of everything but their bodies – carcasses of cars. There are as many abandoned vehicles as there are working ones. With nowhere else to go, we opted for the partial shelter from the coastal winds offered by the hull of one of these cars.” On the project we confront deep meditations, transporting us to “the islands of the moon” through percussion and string instruments, like ndzendze and gambussi. On a sunny groove, even during the rain, in the open air and in a live setting, the soundscape drags us into this crazy adventure with them.
The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives
Anthony Joseph is a poet who remains deeply connected to his Caribbean ancestry and directs his words to issues concerning racism, art and politics, all being for him necessarily intertwined. His new album is an act of resistance, in which he marvelously handles humor, reflection and poetry. The name of this project is taken from the book The Black Jacobins: Toussaint Louverture and the Santo Domingo Revolution by Cyril Lionel Robert James, a Trinidadian who defended the dignity of black and colonized people in the United Kingdom. In a manner similar to Duke Ellington, who witnessed the civil rights movement in the United States, Anthony Joseph uses swing to motivate in a joyful and good-humored way, thereby putting jazz back into its political and social role.
For five years the Deewee label has been promoting musical diversity, something they are celebrating on a 27-track compilation that gathers artists from far and wide. On it, we find the American Chloe Sevigny and Emmanuelle, the Australian Laila, the Belgians ASA MOTO, Bolis Pupul, Charlotte Adigéry, Die Verboten, EMS Synthi 100, Future Sound of Antwerp, Klanken, Movulango, Soulwax, the Brazilians Phillipi and Rodrigo, the British Extra Credit, Laima, James Righton, Sworn Virgins and the Canadians Each Other. Long, wild nights lie ahead!
For her first EP, the British-Mauritian singer imposes herself like a new queen. She fuses R&B, dancehall and Afrobeats for an ode to love and sensuality, explaining: “I just believe in being myself, my roots are Mauritian, my soul is British, my origins are in my sound. I grew up listening to sega, zouk, pop, R&B and all that has influenced the range of my sounds.” This project is also very spiritual: “When I’m having a bad day, I pray and meditate for a while and then try to look at the bigger picture. Life is a journey and every day is a new beginning. Honestly, when you really think about it, even the bad days teach us something valuable and prepare us for the next obstacle ahead.”